Women on Wheels
This week, Sun Valley is a two-wheeling kind of town. With Ride Sun Valley staging amazing races and events up and down Bald Mountain, across country and through city streets, more and more people, of all ages and from all over, are discovering for themselves why Sun Valley is single track Nirvana.
Ride Sun Valley has brought to town some of the best cyclists in the country, including top women. But the Wood River Valley is already home to arguably one of the best female mountain bike racers of all time, Rebecca Rusch. Rebecca is among the world’s top endurance athletes, having cemented that distinction last August when she won her fourth straight Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, setting a new course record in 7 hours, 28 minutes and six seconds.
Rebecca is offering a Ketchum-style women only “no-drop” ride camp as part of her Gold Rusch Tour. Participants gathered Tuesday morning to begin their adventure through the area’s extensive single track with Rebecca in command of the route. “With IMBA Epic Ride Center designation and more buttery-smooth single track than you can imagine, Sun Valley is the crown jewel of the Gold Rusch Tour list of stops,” according to Rebecca’s website.
No guarantee you’ll end up riding like Rebecca, but your skills will surely improve as will your confidence. Plus, riding with a group of girls is just plain fun and with soaks in the river and yoga included, this will certainly be a highlight of the week. It is appropriate for racers and recreational cyclists alike and it is free. Camp runs through July 6.
The legendary Juli Furtado is also in town. Considered one of the best women mountain bikers ever, Juli will lead a women’s only ride on some terrific local trails as part of Ride Sun Valley. While she retired in 1997, this elite World Champion, three-time World Cup Champion and five-time National Champion has gone on to manage her own bike line, Juliana, as a sub-brand of Santa Cruz Bicycles. This no-drop ride takes place July 7 at 10 a.m., will last between one-and-a-half and two hours and be set at an easy to medium pace. No men allowed!
On the other end of the experience spectrum, look for 14-year-old Luma Randolph, a Wood River Valley native, in the Ketchum Criterium race on July 3. This will be Luma’s second Criterium and she, for lack of a better word, is “stoked.” During last year’s event, Luma said she wasn’t scared, despite being the youngest racer in a crowded field that moves fast. “I wasn’t drafting,” she laughed, “so I wasn’t too worried about crashing.”
Luma, who comes by her passion for riding honesty (her father is Greg Randolph, a Ride Sun Valley organizer and former Olympic cyclist and pro mountain bike rider), can’t get enough of the week’s events. She positioned herself at the base of the rock garden right before the finish at Sunday’s Enduro race, where the elite athletes get from Baldy’s summit to base in something like under 25 minutes, and watched intently. “It’s really inspiring to see what the pros do,” Luma said. “Everyone rides the course a different way and I picked up a lot of pointers.”
Ride Sun Valley has brought events appropriate for everyone from young riders, to recreational cyclists, to professionals competing in the Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships to town. Check the schedule and make sure to go out, watch some of the races and get inspired. Sun Valley truly has some of the best mountain biking and road riding anywhere and it is accessible to everyone. Get out and ride!